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The Qianlong emperor's perspective : illusionistic painting in eighteenth-century China
AuthorKleutghen, Kristina Renée
Pub. LocationCambridge, MAPublisherHarvard University
Date2010Phys. Desc.dig.pdf [xviii, 381 leaves : ill. (some col.) ; 29 cm.]
LocationDigital ArchivesCall NumberN7343.5.K64 2010d
The Qianlong emperor's perspective : illusionistic painting in eighteenth-century China / by Kristina Renee Kleutghen.
Thesis (Ph.D., Dept. of History of Art and Architecture)--Harvard University, 2010.
UMI Number: 3414820
Includes bibliographical references.

During the golden reign of the Qianlong emperor (r. 1736-1795), Chinese and European court artists collaborated to create a new painting genre. Combining imported European pictorial techniques with Chinese subjects and materials, these artists created life-size illusionistic paintings called tongjing hua that offered Qianlong opportunities to connect with the painted scenes. Still hidden inside restricted areas of the Forbidden City, these paintings have received little to no study. But the life-size scale and unsurpassed quality of tongjing hua, produced at the height of Sino-European artistic exchange, offer new insights into the private thoughts of the Qianlong emperor. Through exhaustive research in the imperial archives, original translations of imperial poetry, and studies of other eighteenth-century imperial court paintings, tongjing hua are rediscovered in four case studies. Chapter One provides the historical background of European pictorial presence and illusionistic painting in China. Chapter Two examines the omnipresent theme of illusion in Qianlong's court painting through four versions of his inscribed double portrait One or Two. Chapter Three establishes the conceptual foundations of tongjing hua with the Forbidden City's Juanqin Zhai. Chapter Four examines the Pictures of the European Palaces and Waterworks, an album of twenty engravings that provide a visual record of a now-lost tongjing hua. Chapter Five explores the unstudied Qianlong Watching Peacocks in their Prime, notable for its imperial inscription, and connections to Central Asian tribute relationships and Daoist paradise. Chapter Six presents Portrait of Qianlong's Consort with Yongyan as a Child, an unpublished, unstudied tongjing hua with several unique and unprecedented features.
Individually, these works express Qianlong's private thoughts about his family, identity, and legacy that are absent from his public self-presentation. As a genre, however, tongjing hua not only enable his personal self-expression relative to a lifelong obsession with visual illusion, but also reflect eighteenth-century China's widespread fascination with European pictoriality that is found throughout its visual culture. This dissertation rediscovers these little-known paintings and investigates their perspectival illusions as the consummate illustrations of Qianlong's perspective and the new visuality of late imperial China.--OCLC record (from introduction).
Local access only. [Kleutghen.pdf]

Subject(s)Tongjinghua 通景畫 (Illusionistic painting)--China--History
Art, Chinese--Ming-Qing dynasties, 1368-1911--Western influences
Jesuits--China--17th-18th centuries--Contributions in art
Qianlong 乾隆, Emperor of China, 1711-1799--Art collections
Castiglione, Giuseppe 郎世寧, 1688-1766--Influence
SeriesCollections of the Harvard University Archives. Dissertations
Rec. TypeThesis/Dissertation (PDF)LanguageEnglish
CollectionRicci Institute LibraryRec. #15761